Comparing optical soundtracks from ‘Motion Picture Sound Engineering’ (1938)

Turns out the the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences people actually do stuff (or at least they used to) besides that shiny phallic statuette handout business. Their site has a really nicely scanned copy of the landmark 1938 book, Motion Picture Sound Engineering, available for a free download (44.1MB) from their site.

This rather attractive looking 547 page tome has a lot of still-relevant info (provided you are a nerd who’s interested in sound engineering). A few of chapters were written by equalizer design pioneer Harry Kimball. I wasn’t able to find any mention of compressors or limiters, it seems it was written right at the dawn of automatic gain controller technology.

Illustration from ‘Motion Picture Sound Engineering’ (1938)

If you watched Geoff Frost’s mixer design lectures, he kept harkening back to the ’30s concepts; they’re all spelled out in this book.

Illustration from ‘Motion Picture Sound Engineering’ (1938)

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